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Snake Eyes and Storm Shadow #21
SnakeEyes-21 regcvr.jpg
Publisher IDW Publishing
First published February 6, 2013
Cover date January 2013
Written by Chuck Dixon
Art by Atilio Rojo
Colors by Simon Gough and Joana Lafuente
Letters by Neil Uyetake
Editor John Barber and Carlos Guzman

With his one-time brother dead, Storm Shadow seeks out a new purpose.

Synopsis[edit | edit source]

The year 1632, feudal Japan: a ninja clad in black is surrounded by enemy warriors. Though he manages to kill the one sneaking up behind him, and takes down many of his foes, weight of numbers eventually brings him down, impaled on six men's weapons. The ninja dead, one of his foes takes his sword from his hand and cleans it, examining the snake motif near its handle.

The present day: a Japanese construction worker finds the blade of the ninja's sword on a construction site. The handle has been lost to time, revealing the symbol of the Arashikage on the blade; when the sword is put up for sale, the Hard Master sees this on TV, and leaves his RV, leaving a note for Alondra on her bed while she sleeps. The sword is acquired by a rich man who puts it on display in a private gallery, the "finest example of Japanese sword artistry in existence"; on inviting guests to view it, however, the gallery is stormed by masked soldiers with gas grenades, aiming to steal the sword. Their theft is stymied, however, as they are met by an unexpected foe: Storm Shadow, who kills many of the soldiers, but is unable to stop them from reaching their getaway vehicle. However, the car is stopped in its tracks by the Hard Master, who kills the soldiers with a bow and arrow while Storm Shadow watches on, before taking the sword for himself and leaving, injured, on the city's subway.

The Hard Master makes his way to a rural hut in the Japanese countryside, where Storm Shadow waits for him. The two draw their swords and begin to duel, but their fight is interrupted when assassins of the Coil emerge from the grass around them, forcing them to fight together. Dispatching their foes with practiced ease, the two remember Storm Shadow's strict lessons at the hands of a far colder Hard Master; and rather than continue the fight, they simply bow to each other, a truce formed.

Their feud ended, the Hard Master allows Storm Shadow to open a hidden compartment in the hut's floor, which contains a shocking prize... the torn mask of Snake Eyes, who has survived his final battle with Storm Shadow after all!

Featured characters[edit | edit source]

Characters in italics appear only in flashback. (Numbers indicate order of appearance.)

Cobra Arashikage Others
  • Sword thieves (6)
  • Coil assassins (10)

Notes[edit | edit source]

G.I. Joe references[edit | edit source]

  • This issue contains no dialogue, inspired by the legendary Marvel Comics G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero #21, "Silent Interlude", which was also homaged by G.I. Joe: Origins #19. Appropriately enough, this is issue 21 of Snake Eyes and Storm Shadow!

Continuity notes[edit | edit source]

  • The Hard Master and Alondra were introduced in the arc following G.I. Joe vol. 1 #12; Alondra has been working for the Hard Master since Snake Eyes #12; and the two have been living together out of the Hard Master's RV since Snake Eyes and Storm Shadow #17.
  • Given the sword thieves' Serpentor-y yellow and green color scheme and interest in an Arashikage sword, it would be logical to assume that they are part of the Coil, but that isn't stated outright.
  • Flashbacks to Storm Shadow and Snake Eyes' training at the hands of the Hard Master appeared in Snake Eyes and Storm Shadow from issue #13 to #18.
  • The big one: Snake Eyes appeared to have died at the conclusion of "Target: Snake Eyes", but it seems that he faked his death and disappeared!

Other notes[edit | edit source]

  • This issue gives the present-day date as 2012, but that's thoroughly incompatible with the establishment of the Hasbro Universe; the timeline in Revolutionaries #1 claims that The Fall of G.I. Joe takes place in 2014, so we're assuming that that's been quietly retconned.
  • Thanks to the way that Target: Snake Eyes was collected in trade paperback, this issue, along with G.I. Joe vol. 2 #21, have yet to be collected in trade. So if you're reading trade-by-trade instead of by individual issues, you might be a bit surprised when Snake Eyes pops back up down the line!

Covers (2)[edit | edit source]